Today's Story

Story Development

So I’ve always been wanting to post things, but I feel I don’t have anything to post. But I’ve been around long enough that I have plenty of stories, and a few of them might actually be interesting.

Today is the story of how I started coding on the production server.

I started working at a company in 2006. It was a company that would make arrangements to pickup copy machines and office equipment when they came to end of lease or for repossession. When I came on, they were keeping track of everything using excel spreadsheets. Excel sheets to keep track of contacts, excel sheets to keep track of shipments, Excel sheets to keep track of inventory. It took a while to figure out the business rules before I was able to figure out how to design the inventory system.

I was a vacuum developer back then. That’s a term I heard a while back for a single developer who codes alone. No one else to look at code reviews, no one else to bounce ideas off. Plenty of wrong ideas, and I found a lot of them.

This was back in the days when Symfony and CakePHP were getting started, but I didn’t have any infrastructure, so I didn’t know about them, and had to do everything from scratch. I started from a blank web page and just started coding sequentially what I needed to log in, to navigate through a menu, to see an entry form for adding pickup orders, adding notes, and eventually to inventory. My development “server” was a Dell Optiplex small form desktop computer. At the most, there would only be 10 concurrent users, so that machine would technically be enough for what we needed.

But before I got that far, I had enough for the collections team to see something, try out the interface, and let me know of any changes. So I created a few user accounts in the development database and let Amy and one of the bosses see the interface on the development server. The same morning, a new series of accounts from a new Leasing Company arrived. That boss then decreed that Amy would use the system as a trial for those new accounts. And the other collection representative wanted to use the system.

And that’s how the development server became the production server and how I started coding directly on production.

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